Our investigators are multiplying everyday and we've been busy. We have 6 investigators committed to be baptized on the February 22nd, and a few others on their way. Our Baku total attendance has skyrocketed during my past few months here. At first we averaged 15 people or so attending, but we soon increased to 20+ people, and this past Sunday we had total of 43 people in attendance. We were all crowded into the small rented house, and President moon just happened to show up that day. Elder Horn and I both agreed that there could not have been a better day for him to come. An entire investigator family in attendance, we had just adjusted the microphone for maximum sound quality, and many less-active members had come. It was one of my happiest days as a missionary in Baku, and I enjoyed the meetings. President and Sister Moon both spoke and the spirit was powerful.
Other news for the week is that we had transfer calls, and I will be leaving the Baku/Takhmao area this weekend. I have been assigned to the "Chamkarmon" (Pronounced "Jim-Kaa-Moon") area. President has asked me to serve as a District leader/Senior companion. Furthermore, Elder Bostrom (new comp) and I will be white-washing the area as we are both new to it. White-washing means that neither companion has experience in the area, so the first week or so will involve studying the record books/hand drawn maps to locate members homes. I'm excited for the change, and the added responsibility will motivate me to improve.
This past week we had Zone-training and received instruction in our teaching, along with some tips when working with members. I took some good notes to apply in my new area.
This past past Sunday in the Takhmao branch we had a high counsel speaker. Unfortunately, he used the "Read a talk - When you give a talk" approach. I've seen this happen quite a few times now and it seems to be a trend among some of the elderly-leadership. The speaker read the "Which way do you face talk" by Lynn G. Robbins. He was not the most talented reader, so it took a good 15-20 minutes to get through the entire talk. In closing, he encouraged the members to apply the doctrine and sat down. I have come to see the importance of talk preparation, and the influence it can have on the growth of each individual listener. So remember to prepare your talks, and both parties will see growth.
An investigator family of ours has a christian background. I may have mentioned this before. Each member of the family wears a cross on their neck. I noticed while teaching them this past week, just how devoted they are to their beliefs. Every chair has a cross painted on it, their moto's have crosses on them, even the cows have crosses hanging from their necks. I'm glad to see that sort of devotion from people living in a mostly anti-christian community, even if the cross itself isn't something we worship. This family is preparing to be baptized in two weeks and they have been graciously received by the Baku members. Their progression as they come to know the Lord's restored gospel is going well, and as they come to know the doctrine I'm sure the way they show their devotion will change.
I have been really soaking up the last few bike rides to and from Baku, I only have a few left before I transfer on Saturday. I will miss that daily bike ride and the things I learned over the past 4 1/2 months from biking it. If I ever had a question or something bothering me, it was most often resolved during that ride. I was able to receive a lot of spiritual witnesses and answers as I pondered scripture, recorded events and doctrines on the road to Baku. I am very grateful for the time that I spent serving in this area, it has undoubtedly changed my mission.
I look forward to this last week here with Elder Horn. I will miss him and what I have learned during my time with him.
Love, Elder Zierenberg
"Biking through Baku"
Biking through Baku part II
My boy Songha
Church in Baku (2-8-15)